Founded by Etang EGBE Founder, Shoppote, a shopping platform based in Cameroon aims to bridge the gap between digital consumers and offline retailers.
The product discovery platform helps consumers have a virtual access to on-shelf products and offers in real-time and has now registered 200+ offline retail partner stores across the cities of Douala and Yaounde and have close to 15000 consumers in its network with over 20% month-on-month growth.
With a team of 8 people spread across functions, the platform has consumer electronics, Home Appliances, Kitchen Appliances and home decor with plans to add apparels category in the next phase of its growth.
“I have always thought Africa can only be built by Africans,” Egbe, the platforms founder and CEO. “The experience of living and working in Asia between 2010 to 2016 was life changing for me, where I last worked as Product/OSE Engineer at a Telecom BSS company in Bangalore, India.”
With his last employer he had the chance to journey between India and several African countries, where he learned that building Africa needs to start from tackling issues such as unemployment and the only way this can be done is by empowering SMEs with the right tools to help them grow and employ more youths hence boosting the economy.
“At that point it became clear to me that the mission was to build a tool that can empower SMEs to drive their growth and at the same time keep them relevant as we fast moving into the digital era, he said.
With the fast adoption of mobile internet and availability of cheap android smartphones in the market, consumers are changing their purchasing habits and want to have the same access and convenience provided by eCommerce sites. Egbe says its therefore important to build a solution that not only brings this convenience but it also has to keep the traditional shopping approach.
His first attempt was to build a business listing portal for offline retailers (brick-and-mortar) called Dial237.com. But this brought no difference beyond providing the business location and contact information, if offline retailers are to compete with online retailers there was a need to build a feature that will provide information about the in-store activities of an offline store. Consumers today want to know more than just business location. They want to know about the product, the prices and any running offers at a nearby store.
“It wasn’t easy to estimate how much capital we required to kickstart the project. We bootstrapped the project and later raised $10,000 from our team of advisors. We are looking for next round of funding to fuel our growth. We are targeting to on-board over 2000 partner stores by March’18 with more than 40% paid partners,” Egbe told TechMoran.
Being the first 02o business in Cameroon, Shoppote help users to find contacts of nearby offline stores. The platform aims to lower its clients marketing costs and provide them with a whole new exquisite audience.
“We want to be a pocket app, a day-to-day friend for all our user’s needs,” Egbe concluded.